Review: Agent18 FlowerVest, ForceShield, HeartVest + ShoutShield Cases for iPhone 4
Although each is named for their distinguishing design, the FlowerVest, ForceShield, HeartVest, and ShoutShield Cases ($30) from Agent18 are variations on the same theme for the iPhone 4: simple, soft silicon jackets with texturized patterns. We have seen several iterations of FlowerVest in the past, and all of these options are also available for the iPod touch 4G at the same price. While the cases seem a little long in the tooth at this point, they are not bad for the style.
Like most rubbery cases, Agent18’s offerings are completely flexible; inserting the iPhone 4 simply requires stretching the case around the edges. Once in place, everything stays well and fits how it supposed to—although the case pulls away from the edge quite easily. On all of the models the volume and Sleep/Wake buttons are covered and fully responsive, and there are cutouts for all of the other access points. An expanded opening for the silent switch and larger coverings for the volume buttons allow these cases to accommodate both GSM and CDMA iPhone 4s. While FlowerVest, ForceShield, and HeartVest all have Dock Connector openings that fit into Universal Docks, the design on the ShoutShield is too thick and prevents an electronic connection.
Due to the material used these cases are pretty difficult to get in and out of a pocket. The finish is supposed to repel dust and lint, but we did see small particles appear rather soon after removing the cases from their packaging. All of the designs are pretty standard, but we do kind of like the ShoutShield if only for the fact that it’s unique: it has symbols representing profanity running around the outer edge, providing a neat texture. Unfortunately, that texture is the reason ShoutShield cannot dock and also makes it very difficult to use the metal stand included with all four models. Even on the other models, we found the stand to only be suitable for landscape viewing.
At the end of the day, these cases are nothing new—good, but not great. Agent18 is clearly happy with the style they have here, and is fine sticking with the same base design while adding new accents, while we would like to see innovation from the company other than just pattern and color changes. Especially at their $30 price, with only a so-so stand and no screen protector, these four cases earn a limited recommendation; if you love the designs they are good options, but you can do better for your money. The accessory compatibility issues seen with ShoutShield would otherwise put it at a lower rating, but the unique design adds some value.